It’s tough to win games in the NBA when your top three scorers are unavailable and the rest of the roster really struggles with consistently putting the ball through the hoop.
A day after making 5 of 34 (14.7%) of their 3-pointers, the Pelicans didn’t fare much better, knocking down 8 of 33 (24.2%) from deep against the Celtics.
In the past five days, New Orleans has posted three of their six worst 3-point team shooting percentages. For the month of January, the Pelicans sit dead last in 3-point percentage (30.5%) and fourth to last in makes (145).
However, not making their share of bombs against the Celtics is far from the only reason that the Pelicans are now riding a three-game losing streak.
New Orleans trailed 27-8 nearly nine minutes into the game. There was little ball or man movement offensively. Meanwhile, Boston’s stars were picking the defense apart early and often. In postgame, Willie Green and the players admitted to not starting with the requisite energy and focus.
Jayson Tatum scored 11 of his 38 points, and Jaylen Brown, 12 of his 31, in the first quarter. They paced the Celtics attack all night long. Even Herb Jones and Josh Hart appeared to have little effect in slowing them down.
Although the Pelicans fought back to reduce the deficit to just seven early in the second quarter, the Celtics quickly regained control by finishing the first half on a 24-12 run.
The only Pelican in double figures was Jose Alvarado, who went on to post his best night as a pro. He scored 10 points in the first half, and finished with a career-high 19 points, adding four rebounds, four steals and three 3-pointers.
Hernangomez had 14 points and five rebounds. Devonte’ Graham and Garrett Temple each scored 12 points apiece.
New Orleans’ offense came alive in the second half, and cut Boston’s advantage into single digits several times, but they could never stifle Tatum and Brown for a long enough stretch to make the game really interesting.
The story from this game is undoubtedly the lack of scoring, and in today’s NBA, you’ve got to be able to make some jumpers from the outside. New Orleans heavily relies on Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas and both were out of commission. Plus, don’t forget about Zion Williamson. How many other teams in the league can win games consistently without their three top weapons?
Up next, the Pelicans get a day of rest on Sunday before facing another back-to-back set, this time on the road, kicking off with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.